Prevalence of Illegal Drug Use in Australia

"There was no change in recent use of most illicit drugs in 2013, and use of any illicit drug remained stable between 2010 and 2013. However, there was a significant change for a few specific drugs. The proportion of people who had misused a pharmaceutical rose from 4.2% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2013, whereas there were falls in the use of ecstasy (from 3.0% to 2.5%), heroin (from 0.2% to 0.1%) and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB).
"While there was no significant rise in meth/amphetamine use in 2013 (stable at around 2.1%), there was a change in the main form of the drug used. Among meth/amphetamine users, use of powder fell, from 51% to 29%, while the use of ice (or crystal methamphetamine) more than doubled, from 22% in 2010 to 50% in 2013.
"Questions on the use of synthetic cannabis and other psychoactive substances were included in the NDSHS for the first time in 2013 and results showed that 1.2% of the population (or about 230,000 people) had used synthetic cannabinoids in the last 12 months, and 0.4% (or about 80,000 people) had used another psychoactive substance such as mephedrone. While people in their 20s are normally the most likely to use illicit drugs, it was young people aged 14–19 who were slightly more likely to use synthetic cannabinoids (2.7% compared with 2.5%).
"In 2013, 8.3% of the population had been a victim of an illicit drug-related incident. While this was similar to the 8.5% in 2010, the proportion experiencing physical abuse by someone under the influence of illicit drugs rose from 2.2% in 2010 to 3.1% in 2013. Verbal abuse remained the most frequently reported incident overall.
"Community tolerance has increased for cannabis use, with higher proportions of people supporting legalisation and a lower proportion supporting penalties for sale and supply. People in Australia now consider meth/amphetamines to be more of a concern to the general community than any other illicit drug and the proportion who nominated it as a drug problem or as a drug that caused the most deaths also increased in 2013."


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, "National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013." Drug statistics series no. 28., Cat. no. PHE 183 (Canberra: AIHW, Nov. 2014), p. 7.